What it is: If voice technology is the next frontier of personal computing, it's no surprise that Amazon is getting a jump on what shopping might look like in the voice era. It created a corporate venture fund, Alexa Fund, with a focus on investing in companies that build tools for Amazon's smart assistant.
Backed by the fund, Blutag develops software for retailers that want to have voice-controlled apps for the Alexa family of devices. Its app for EZneeds, a delivery service for big-box stores, for example, lets customers order and re-order items, request coupons, and get personalized recommendations.
Paul Bernard, director of Alexa Fund, said voice-controlled apps have become "a must-have for a lot of different companies."
Founded: 2015 by Shilp Agarwal and Rahul Agarwal.
Funding:$1.81 million from Act One Ventures, AET Fund, Alexa Fund, and Techstars Ventures.